E-Reading: Book Review of #4 The Mystery at Lilac Inn by Carolyn Keene
Author: Carolyn Keene
Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap
Part of a Series: Nancy Drew Mysteries
Type of book: Mystery, lilacs, codes, skin diving, 1900s, young adult, children, revised 1960s edition
Year it was published: 1930
Teenage detective Nancy Drew finds herself in danger when she sets out to track a jewel thief.
Nancy still remains herself, and in this book its revealed that she can skin-dive. (What does that mean by the way?) The other characters are flat and aren't very interesting unfortunately. Helen Corning is still engaged to someone and she doesn't play an interesting part. I have to admit that very little of the book seems interesting to me.
Actors tend to be bad people.
This is written in third person narrative from Nancy's point of view. I have to admit that the story wasn't interesting and it didn't grab me. The only plot twists was the fact that people who I thought were culprits weren't, and that Nancy's father wasn't kidnapped or threatened with his life, which surprised me. (Hey, if in the first three books it happened, I had an excuse to expect it in this book!)
Children's Books, Mystery & Thrillers
About this author
Carolyn Keene is a writer pen name that was used by many different people- both men and women- over the years. The company that was the creator of the Nancy Drew series, the Stratemeyer Syndicate, hired a variety of writers. For Nancy Drew, the writers used the pseudonym Carolyn Keene to assure anonymity of the creator.
Edna and Harriet Stratemeyer inherited the company from their father Edward Stratemeyer. Edna contributed 10 plot outlines before passing the reins to her sister Harriet. It was Mildred A. Wirt Benson, who breathed such a feisty spirit into Nancy's character. Mildred wrote 23 of the original 30 Nancy Drew Mystery Stories®, including the first three. It was her characterization that helped make Nancy an instant hit. The Stratemeyer Syndicate's devotion to the series over the years under the reins of Harriet Stratemeyer Adams helped to keep the series alive and on store shelves for each succeeding generation of girls and boys. In 1959, Harriet, along with several writers, began a 25-year project to revise the earlier Carolyn Keene novels. The Nancy Drew books were condensed, racial stereotypes were removed, and the language was updated. In a few cases, outdated plots were completely rewritten.
Other writers of Nancy Drew volumes include Harriet herself, she wrote most of the series after Mildred quit writing for the Syndicate and in 1959 began a revision of the first 34 texts. The role of the writer of "Carolyn Keene" passed temporarily to Walter Karig who wrote three novels during the Great Depression. Also contributing to Nancy Drew's prolific existence were Leslie McFarlane, James Duncan Lawrence, Nancy Axelrod, Priscilla Doll, Charles Strong, Alma Sasse, Wilhelmina Rankin, George Waller Jr., and Margaret Scherf.
This is a slightly different Nancy Drew than the previous three: for one thing the reader barely gets to know the culprits before they are shot straight at us. The characters that Nancy suspects are the culprits aren't really. Helen Corning accompanies Nancy just like in books 2 and 3 if I'm not mistaken, and also Nancy is described as titian-blond. The actors are once more disliked, at least the character of Mary Mason anyways, and there is some interesting information about the lilacs. Nancy remains her feisty sassy self who is once more like the female version of Sherlock Holmes. Also, there is no threat to Nancy's father Mr. Carson Drew.
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)